Kile, J. A. (Kyle, John A.)

Pvt., Co. C.


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IMAGE of 18th Louisiana Battle Flag

Battle Flag
of the
18th Regiment Louisiana Infantry

...Flag design is based on a small torn section of the regimental battle flag which is on display in the Confederate Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana. May 19, 1865. When the 18th Regiment was disbandedthe flag was torn into ten pieces and a piece given to each of the ten company commanders. (Placement of Battle Inscriptions is specualtive and based on similar Confederate battle flags of the same period.)

IMAGE of John A. Kile

The monument lovingly dedicated to the memory of their "Unknown Soldier", John A. Kile (Kyle), Pvt., Co. C., 18th Louisiana Infantry Regiment and graciously donated by the kind citizens of Owensboro,Kentucky. The John A. Kile (Kyle) monument is located in the Elmwood Cemetery in Owensboro, Kentucky .

IMAGE of John A. Kile (Kyle)

John A. Kile (Kyle),
Pvt., Co. C.

At this point in time, we have been uable to locate a photograph of John A Kile (Kyle) to place with his biograph. Should any of the decendants of Mr. Kile (Kyle) care to contribute an image of the late Confederate soldier to this page, this researcher would be very grateful.


John A. Kile (Kyle)

Pvt., Co. C.

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~ Military Record ~

Kile, J. A., Pvt., Co. C., 18th La. Inf. En. Oct. 5, 1861, Camp Moore, La. Present on all Rolls to Feb. 1862.

~ Biography ~


October 1996


By Ginny Tobin

In October of last year, I remarked in a conversation with Mike Marshall, that I would like to go to Owensboro, Kentucky to try to find John Kile's grave. Mike asked if I had talked with anyone up there. No, I had not - it never occurred to me to do that. Mike picked up the telephone and called the Daviss County Public Library and spoke with Shelia Heflin in the Genealogy Department. He explained to her that we were trying to find where John Kile is buried and did they have records that would help us? She replied - "Yes, he is our Unknown Soldier," and told Mike that John is buried in the historic Elmwood Cemetery. How simple! How amazingly simple! I was speechless, that Mike found out in ten minutes what I had contemplated trying to find out for several years. This proves you can't be too timid in looking for leads in a genealogical puzzle. Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do by telephone today. If not for Mike's initiative in making that call I would still be saying "Some day I'm going to Owensboro- - -."

* * * *

Jacob Kile and his wife Sarah (Airhart), came to Louisiana from Monroe County, Tennessee about 1839. Traveling with them were Sarah's parents Nicolas and Sarah Airhart, her brother Alexander and sister Margaret Lee and family. Jacob and Sarah settled in Natchitoches Parish, just south of Cloutierville, and it was there in 1840, their first child John A. Kile was born. Sarah died about 1856 and is buried in an unmarked grave some where near Cloutiervile.

The Kiles were neighors and friends of Francois and Sarah Elizabeth (Wrinkle) Adle. Their children were playmates. When Francois died, March 8, 1857, Jacob was administrator of his estate. On April 1, 1858 Jacob and Sarah Elizabeth were married.

Sarah Elizabeth had six daughters, one of whom was Rosanna Francine. The childhood friendship between John and Francine blossomed into love and on September 6, 1860, they were married at Cloutierville by Justice of the Peace Adam Carnahan. John was twenty years old and Francine was seventeen. They set up housekeeping near Cloutierville where John worked as overseer, possibly for his stepmother. As a result of their marrige, and that of Jacob and Sarah Elizabeth, Jacob was both father-in-law and stepfather to Francine, and Sarah Elizabeth was mother-in-law and stepmother to John.

On August 21, 1861, a daughter was born to John and Francine. The country was in the grips of the Civil War and John, along with his boyhood friends from Cloutierville, was anxious to get into the struggle. On September 9th of that year Capt. John D. Woods organized the Natchitoches Rebels at Cloutierville, but his baby daughter was only nineteen days old and John did not feel he could leave Francine at that time.( 1) According to family legend he named the baby Sarah Alease, possibly for both grandmothers, Sarah Airhart and Sarah Elizabeth Wrinkle (Adle).

When Sarah Alease was six weeks old John bade farewell to his family and traveled to Camp moore where on October 5, 1861 he enlisted in Co. C (The Natchitoches Rebels) of the 18th Louisiana Infantry. From there the company went to New Orleans where three additional companies joined them, completing the regiment.

In mid-February 1862, the Eighteenth Louisiana Regiment left New Orleans for Corinth, Mississippi, to defend the vital railroads in that area. Without these railroads the south would have been virtually helpless in receiving supplies and moving men and equipment. Initial attacks by Union forces had failed to destroy the railroads. However, in early April, General Beauregard received word that Buell's army was marching to Pittsburg Landing to join forces with General Grant for a combined assault on General Albert Sidney Johnston's army at Corinth. After consulting his staff Beauregard ordered an immediate attack on Pittsburg Landing, hoping to catch the Union forces by surprise.

Early the morning of April 3rd, the Confederates began marching out of Corinth. Due to confusion over the proper roads to take, improper communications, and the poor conditions of the narrow wagon trails (rain had made them virtually impassable), it took three days to cover the twenty-three mile march to Pittsburg Landing. Wagons and artillery became mired in the muddy roads, slowing the marching troops, however, on the night of April 5th they camped near the little log church that would give this bloody battle its name - "Shilo." General Johnston told his men that night, "The eyes and hopes of eight millions of people are resting on you." Although campfires were forbidden, they blazed throughout the Confederate camp. Shouts, drum rolls and bugle calls echoed in the night. For many young soldiers this would be their first taste of battle and they looked upon the coming fight as a great adventure; for many it would be their last battle and Pvt. Kile was one of them.

The noise of the men and the blazing campfires caused Generals Bragg and Beauregard(2) to consider calling off the entire operation. They feared the Union forces had been alerted and would be entrenched and waiting for the coming attack. Nevertheless, Johnston was adamant, declaring, "Gentlemen, we shall attack at daylight tomorrow." General Sherman on the other hand was convinced the Rebels posed no real threat and did not prepare for
what was about to happen.

On Sunday, April 6, 1862, just as the sun was rising, the piercing blood-curdling Rebel yell startled the Union troops as the Confederates swept down upon their camps. As one Confederate soldier remarked, that yell "drove all sanity and order from them and inspired the men with the wildest enthuiasm." So began the Battle of Shilo (or Pittsburg Landing) and two days of fierce fighting that were the bloodiest ever fought on American soil up to that time.

Capt. Woods's Company of the Eighteenth Louisiana Regiment went into battle at Shilo with fortytwo men; twenty-six were killed or wounded. Among the wounded was Pvt. John A. Kile. He, along with other Confederate prisoners was put aboard a Federal gun boat for transport to a prisoner-ofwar camp at Louisville, Kentucky, but during the trip up the Ohio River he died of his wounds. His body was deposited on the wharf at Owensboro, Kentucky, clad only in a red undershirt and stuffed into a box too short for Kile's tall frame. The only identification was a scrawled note - "Dead Rebel, A. Kile, 18th Louisiana Regiment."

The citizens of Owensboro were so incensed over the lack of respect shown a fellow human being that they had a proper casket made and saw to it that Pvt. Kile had a decent Christian burial. A law had been passed forbidding the burial of Confederates in the cemeteries of Owensboro, or the state of Kentucky for that matter, so Dr. Gustavus Brown Tyler donated a section of his family plot for the burial of the young soldier. A local photographer took a picture of John Kile and it, along with a newspaper article about the funeral service was sent back to Louisiana, and eventually to John's family.
The picture and article were kept in Jacob Kile's bible.

The newspaper article read: "A Confederate soldier who was wounded at the Battle of Pittsburg landing and who was being conveyed as a prisoner, died of his wounds between Evansville and Owensboro, and after being stripped of his clothing, was thrown into an old wooden box which was about three inches too short for him, and left on the wharf boat to be buried by our citizens. A meeting was called by the Southern citizens of the town and preparations made for a suitable burial at 1 o 'clock on Thursday. Long before the appointed time our streets were thronged with people from all sections of the county, who had come to witness the solemn ceremony. At 2 o 'clock the remains were conveyed to the Methodist Church, where an impressive and eloquent funeral oration was delivered by Rev. Dr. Nicholson. The number of spectators at the church was variously estimated at from 1,000 to 1,500. After the exercises at the church were concluded the procession repaired to the cemetery, where they deposited the remains of the brave but unfortunate soldier, who died while nobly battling in defense of his country and his country's cause.

It may be of some consolation to the friends of the deceased to know - though buried among strangers in a strange land - that he was interred in a manner becoming his cause, and that thousands of sympathizing tears were shed over his grave for the loved ones at home, and many a fervent prayer offered up to God for his safe deliverance to that haven of rest where strife, dissensions [sic] and Abolitionism never enter, and where peace and harmony reign forever.

Soldier rest, thy warfare o 're
Dream of fighting fields no more;
Sleep the sleep that knows no breaking,
Morn of toil nor night of waking.

The name of the soldier was A. Kyle. It was stated that he belonged to Company C, 18th Regiment Louisiana Volunteers. He was of dark complexion, had black hair and eyes, and was well formed. He was six feet three inches high."

The editor of The Louisville Journal showed his displeasure with the showing of Southern sentiment and the report of the funeral in theOwensboro newspaper by angrily commenting in The Journal, "The comments of the Owensboro paper explain and go far to justify the recently promulgated order forbidding the burial of the rebel dead in our state."

The citizens of Owensboro placed a monument at John Kile's grave
It is an obelisk, four feet high. On it they had engraved:

"The citizens affectionately dedicate this monument of Owensboro, Daviess County, to the memory of A. Kyle, C.S.A., Co. C 18th Louisiana Volunteer Regiment who was taken prisoner at Shilo April 7, 1962. He died on a Federal gunboat, and was put on shore at this city, where his remains were tenderly laid to rest by Southern sympathizers. A slip of paper on which were these words was found on his person: "What more can a man do than to die in defense of his country."

John A. Kile, or A. Kyle as stated on his tombstone, is called the "unknown soldier" of Owensboro, Kentucky. They knew his name (or thought they did) but nothing else about him. My husband and I visited his grave in December of last year and on it we placed an arrangement of Boxwood, pine cones and red ribbons. We met and talked with Mrs. Elaine Little who conducts tours of historic Elmwood Cemetery, telling stories about the famous and not so famous people buried there. She told us that when she conducts a tour of school children she gives each child a carnation and tells them if they are especially touched by one of the stories they hear leave their flower on that person's grave. She said most of the flowers are always left on Pvt. Kile's grave.

John's wife Rosanna Francine married again to Edmond Bush on the 21st of October 1866, and moved to Navarro County, Texas.(3) His daughter Sarah Alease married John William Tobin in 1876 at Kisatchie, Louisiana.(4) They were the grandparents of my husband, Ted Tobin, and John Kile was his great grandflither. Ted has John Kile's photograph and Jacob Kile's bible in which is pasted the original newspaper clipping.


1. Some of the men who enlisted from the Cloutierville area were: Capt. John D. Woods, the local doctor, W. P. Owens, Theodule Lattier, Felix Sers, L. P. Fontenot, Charles Bertrand, Jr., three Hertzog boys, six Rachal boys, A. B. Cunningham. Regimental Color Bearer, and W. A. Jenkins, Musician.

2. General Braxton Bragg and General Pierre G. T. Beauregard.

3. Names of children by this marriage: Isidora, Nancy Victoria, Rebecca Ann, James William, John Stephen, Edmond Arenton, Jr., Thadeous Cason, Christopher Columbus, and Roy Purdom.

4. The wedding was performed by Jacob Kile, Alease's grandfather. He was pastor and founder of the Kisatchie Union Methodist Church.

A very special THANK YOU goes out
to Ms. Ginney Tobin for the article and excellent photo
regarding John A. Kile, Pvt., Co. C., 18th Louisiana Infantry Regiment.
The poignant article entitled "John A. Kile", by
Ginney Tobin was reprinted with permission. The article is from the
Natchitoches Genealogist, October 1996, pp. 27-30.

A very special THANK YOU is extended to my friend,
Edgar F. Cook for his tireless assistance and his
never-ending detective work uncovering information such as
this page about James A. Kile (Kyle), Pvt., Co. C.

Your information
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of America's greatest struggle.

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Updated on 13 July 2003...1339:29 CST

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